WATCH | Valentina Shevchenko Has No Water Policy During Training On TUF 32

Valentina Shevchenko claims Mexican Independence Day pressured judges at Noche UFCFormer UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko is one of the coaches on TUF 32 and she has a…

Valentina Shevchenko claims Mexican Independence Day pressured judges at Noche UFC

Former UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko is one of the coaches on TUF 32 and she has a unique policy during training.

In the first episode of the show, Shevchenko had her first practice with her team and banned water during the training session. Although many athletes drink water while competing and training, Shevchenko believes drinking water makes you realize how tired you are.

‘When you are drinking water you kind of like focusing on that you are tired. This is a way how you kind of like develop your champion’s mindset,” Shevchenko said.

It is an interesting theory from Shevchenko, but the former champ is known for her cardio so perhaps there is something to it. She told her team to either drink water before or after the session and not during, which some fighters said was new to them, but they do think it will make them mentally stronger.

Valentina Shevchenko believes she proved she’s ‘stronger, faster’ than Alexa Grasso

Despite Valentina Shevchenko and Alexa Grasso are coaching TUF 32, the trilogy fight between the two has not been booked. Although all signs point to it happening, nothing has been made official.

Even though Shevchenko is 0-1-1 against Grasso, she believes in the rematch she proved she is stronger and faster and is confident going into the trilogy.

Alexa Grasso admits it's a big challenge to beat Valentina Shevchenko at Noche UFC

“The last fight showed that I was stronger, I was faster and she had just a few moments that were in her favor,” Shevchenko said to MMAJunkie. “I’m just focusing on my performance and be more faster, be stronger and definitely it’s a thing I don’t want to leave the decision for the judges. I have all the reason why to not let it leave for the judges. It’s a personal thing to not let it happen. Definitely I will focus more on the finish. For me, it’s no matter what kind of finish, striking or submission. It has to be done. I’m focusing more on those things.”

Shevchenko is 23-4-1 as a pro and is coming off the draw to Grasso last September.

UFC icon Valentina Shevchenko poses with all 7 of her flyweight world titles: ‘My belts are with me’

MixCollage 07 Apr 2024 04 40 PM 7506Valentina Shevchenko is inarguably one of the greatest female fighters in the history of mixed martial arts. Though she…

MixCollage 07 Apr 2024 04 40 PM 7506

Valentina Shevchenko is inarguably one of the greatest female fighters in the history of mixed martial arts.

Though she may no longer sit atop the women’s flyweight division, ‘Bullet’ is by far and away, the greatest fighter the 125-pound weight class has ever seen. Defending her belt a record-setting seven times, Shevchenko recently posed with all seven of her titles on social media — each representing one of her iconic defenses.

The visual was reminiscent of Demetrious Johnson’s iconic photo with his own collection of UFC gold.

Valentina Shevchenko

“7 title defense, 7 amazing events alongside the best #UFC MMA fighters of the world,” Shevchenko wrote on Instagram. “Thank you @ufc, Now all my belts with me!!!”

Valentina Shevchenko

Making her promotional debut in 2015, Valentina Shevchenko worked her way up the bantamweight ladder before making the jump to flyweight where she won nine straight fights, including a title-winning performance against 2024 UFC Hall of Famer Joanna J?drzejczyk.

She would go on to defend the title against the likes of Jessica Eye, Liz Carmouche, Katlyn Chookagian, Jennifer Maia, Jessica Andrade, Lauren Murphy, and Taila Santos.

Along the way, she etched her name in the history books, claiming a slew of records, including the most title wins, most consecutive title defenses, most takedowns landed, most control time, and the most total strikes landed in women’s flyweight history. She was also named the World MMA Awards’ 2022 Female Fighter of the Year.

Valentina Shevchenko
Valentina Shevchenko

Valentina Shevchenko will look to reclaim the crown

Valentina Shevchenko’s time at the top of 125 came to an end on March 4, 2023, when she suffered a shocking fourth-round submission loss at the hands of Guadalajara native Alexa Grasso. Six months later, ‘Bullet’ came up short of reclaiming the crown during the UFC’s Mexican Independence Day celebration, going five rounds with Grasso only for the fight to be scored as a split draw.

The women are expected to run it back a third time later, but first, they’ll go toe-to-toe as coaches of The Ultimate Fighter 32.

Until then, check out highlights from Valentina Shevchenko’s iconic flyweight title reign below:

UFC icon Valentina Shevchenko poses with all 7 of her flyweight world titles: ‘My belts are with me’

MixCollage 07 Apr 2024 04 40 PM 7506Valentina Shevchenko is inarguably one of the greatest female fighters in the history of mixed martial arts. Though she…

MixCollage 07 Apr 2024 04 40 PM 7506

Valentina Shevchenko is inarguably one of the greatest female fighters in the history of mixed martial arts.

Though she may no longer sit atop the women’s flyweight division, ‘Bullet’ is by far and away, the greatest fighter the 125-pound weight class has ever seen. Defending her belt a record-setting seven times, Shevchenko recently posed with all seven of her titles on social media — each representing one of her iconic defenses.

The visual was reminiscent of Demetrious Johnson’s iconic photo with his own collection of UFC gold.

Valentina Shevchenko

“7 title defense, 7 amazing events alongside the best #UFC MMA fighters of the world,” Shevchenko wrote on Instagram. “Thank you @ufc, Now all my belts with me!!!”

Valentina Shevchenko

Making her promotional debut in 2015, Valentina Shevchenko worked her way up the bantamweight ladder before making the jump to flyweight where she won nine straight fights, including a title-winning performance against 2024 UFC Hall of Famer Joanna J?drzejczyk.

She would go on to defend the title against the likes of Jessica Eye, Liz Carmouche, Katlyn Chookagian, Jennifer Maia, Jessica Andrade, Lauren Murphy, and Taila Santos.

Along the way, she etched her name in the history books, claiming a slew of records, including the most title wins, most consecutive title defenses, most takedowns landed, most control time, and the most total strikes landed in women’s flyweight history. She was also named the World MMA Awards’ 2022 Female Fighter of the Year.

Valentina Shevchenko
Valentina Shevchenko

Valentina Shevchenko will look to reclaim the crown

Valentina Shevchenko’s time at the top of 125 came to an end on March 4, 2023, when she suffered a shocking fourth-round submission loss at the hands of Guadalajara native Alexa Grasso. Six months later, ‘Bullet’ came up short of reclaiming the crown during the UFC’s Mexican Independence Day celebration, going five rounds with Grasso only for the fight to be scored as a split draw.

The women are expected to run it back a third time later, but first, they’ll go toe-to-toe as coaches of The Ultimate Fighter 32.

Until then, check out highlights from Valentina Shevchenko’s iconic flyweight title reign below:

5 Fights We Need to See After UFC on ESPN 54

Manon Fiorot is undeniable. In the main event of Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 54 card in Atlantic City, the Frenchwoman scored her 11th straight win, handing No. 1…

Manon Fiorot is undeniable. In the main event of Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 54 card in Atlantic City, the Frenchwoman scored her 11th straight win, handing No. 1…

To Wait or To Fight: What should Manon Fiorot do after UFC Atlantic City win?

To Wait or To Fight: What should Manon Fiorot do after UFC Atlantic City win?Manon Fiorot has two tough options after Saturday: Wait for a shot, or risk her contender position in another fight.

To Wait or To Fight: What should Manon Fiorot do after UFC Atlantic City win?

Manon Fiorot was overjoyed on Saturday night, and how could she not be? She put together an incredibly dominant performance against one of the top talents at flyweight, making her the biggest name at 125 pounds who has never fought for a title.

While Fiorot is riding high after her victory over Erin Blanchfield, that happiness might soon turn into frustration. The 34-year-old French talent is one of the most qualified names for a flyweight title shot, but it’s unclear when that opportunity will ever arrive.

Generous estimates have placed a potential fight against the flyweight champ around early 2025. Yes, seriously. The clogged-up timeline of the flyweight title picture in the division has put Manon Fiorot—and the UFC—in a tough position: Do they bench the French contender for what could be nine or more months, or do they make her defend her contender spot in another high-profile fight? Let’s assume the role of the UFC and Manon Fiorot and figure out what to do next.

Why The Wait?

Alexa Grasso faces off with Valentina Shevchenko ahead of The Ultimate Fighter 32 this summer

Before we get into Fiorot’s future, it’s worth highlighting why Fiorot would have to wait so long for a title shot. Just recently, UFC made the decision that current champ Alexa Grasso and former titleholder Valentina Shevchenko will face off in a trilogy bout. That’s all fine and good, but there’s a catch: They’ll meet after coaching the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter.

The show is scheduled to begin in early June and likely run for 12 weeks. That puts a potential third fight between Grasso and Shevchenko in September at the earliest, matching them up around a year after they previously met.

It’s unclear how much time off the winning fighter will need afterward. It could be a quick turnaround or a long layoff. But if we just assume it will be around three months, that puts Manon Fiorot either on the last card of 2024 or somewhere next year.

Could the UFC be blamed? It’s possible, but also hard to tell. Both Shevchenko and Grasso underwent hand surgery last fall after their UFC Noche bout. We don’t know much about if they are fully healed up, or if the delay in their fight is solely due to The Ultimate Fighter. While there’s a chance that UFC is entirely to blame for the fight’s delay, it’s worth remembering that there are other possibilities on the table as well.

As demonstrated by last season—coached by Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler—you don’t need a champion and challenger in the mentor role. You can just grab any two notable UFC fighters and put them on the show, making the decision to use Grasso and Shevchenko potentially questionable.

If the fight is truly being shelved solely due to the reality TV show, it’s a bad look on the UFC. Dayne Fox perfectly illuminated this point in an article earlier this week: “It appears the UFC would rather kill any potential momentum for a relic of the past,” he wrote.

The reason for the hold-up at flyweight is hard to determine. But it has been decided and is final. It’s now time to discuss what to do next.

Should Manon Fiorot Sit Out?

Joanne Calderwood
A cautionary tale from the past | Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

Fiorot made it clear on Saturday night that she wants a title fight next: “I’m ready no matter what, I want my title shot,” she said through an interpreter. But she’ll need to be on the sidelines for a while if that’s the case.

We have seen scenarios in the past where an expected challenger lost out on a fight by staying active. When Shevchenko pulled out of her June 2020 booking against Joanne Wood due to injury, Wood fought Jennifer Maia two months later. A first-round submission win went the way of Maia and, you guessed it, she ended up getting that fight against Shevchenko instead of Wood.

It’s not completely easy to compare the previous case to Fiorot’s position. Fiorot will have an even longer wait than what Wood was up against, and she is certainly also more qualified in this scenario as well. While Manon Fiorot might have to sit out for a long time, there’s a really strong case for her putting her patience to the test and getting her rightful shot against the champ.

It’s hard to disagree with the decision for Fiorot to wait if that’s what she ends up doing, but she might also want to fight. It wouldn’t be wild if Fiorot decided to fight again. It’s a payday, after all. Don’t compete? Don’t get paid. That alone is incentive for some to got another matchup as soon as possible. We know that other people would take another fight if in Manon Fiorot’s position. If Erin Blanchfield were to win on Saturday, we would be looking at a situation where she would likely be competing again before the flyweight title fight, as outlined in a recent interview.

If She Were To Fight…

At the end of the day, I want Fiorot to choose her fate. I only want to see Fiorot in another fight if she truly wants to. Considering how many high-stakes bouts she has won in the division, it’s simply unfair at the moment to insist that she needs to defend her position. It’s not her fault that the title picture is moving so slowly. But let’s say she does want to, what should they do?

I would like to see Fiorot rewarded with an interim title bout if she does fight again before an opportunity at either Shevchenko or Grasso. If she fought fourth-ranked Maycee Barber for the belt, I wouldn’t be against that. Barber, quite honestly, isn’t as qualified as Fiorot or even Blanchfield. While she has beaten names like Katlyn Cerminara and Jessica Eye, it feels like her record just isn’t as strong. But after Blanchfield’s loss on Saturday, a fight between Barber and Manon Fiorot is the new top fight to make outside of the main title picture. If Manon Fiorot wants to fight again, that’s the best match you can make for her.

Fiorot deserves a big matchup next, even if she can’t get a shot at the undisputed title. An interim belt, even though it doesn’t guarantee anything per se, would make the statement that she is undoubtedly who should be facing the top name next. Any other potential matchup for Manon Fiorot would simply be giving her a lower-ranked talent to keep her busy.

The Verdict?

The wait may be long, and the timeline is uncertain. But as it stands right now, it feels like the right move for Manon Fiorot, and the right decision to make for the UFC is to let the French contender wait and then eventually be rewarded the fight she undoubtedly deserves. There are certainly options for her if she wants to stay active, but those opportunities are high-risk. She has done more than enough for a shot, and definitely more than some title challengers from the era where Shevchenko was knocking down two names a year. The wait currently seems worthwhile for Fiorot.

UFC should realize that Manon Fiorot as a title challenger can provide for another big event in France. The MMA market is red hot in the country, as demonstrated by the Cedric Doumbe-headlined PFL card recently. They can try to push into the market the same way they did with a Ciryl Gane title campaign a couple of years back. If Manon Fiorot is willing to wait and UFC is interested in keeping her in a contender position, this feels like it could be a win for all parties involved. 

There are so many ways that this could go. A year from now, Manon Fiorot might be the UFC flyweight champion. Or, she might be out of the title picture after losing a fight she took to stay active. There’s also a possibility that she could still be waiting for her shot against the top of the weight class. It’s challenging currently to figure out what path is the right one for her to take. We’ve predicted what might be the best idea, and we’ll soon see if that was the right choice.

Valentina Shevchenko fires back at fans upser over TUF 32 coach choices: ‘They hate everyone, it’s in their hearts’

Valentina Shevchenko hits out at fans over TUF 32 coaching they hate everyone it's in their heartsValentina Shevchenko has fired back at fans over her and Alexa Grasso being the coaches of The Ultimate Fighter….

Valentina Shevchenko hits out at fans over TUF 32 coaching they hate everyone it's in their hearts

Valentina Shevchenko has fired back at fans over her and Alexa Grasso being the coaches of The Ultimate Fighter.

Shevchenko and Grasso will coach TUF 32 which features middleweights and featherweights. After the coaches were announced, some fans were disappointed in the selection as they felt the UFC should have gotten bigger names to coach the show.

Alexa Grasso faces off with Valentina Shevchenko ahead of The Ultimate Fighter 32 this summer

Valentina Shevchenko hits out at fans regarding TUF 32

However, Valentina Shevchenko was disappointed with that as she believes she and Alexa Grasso make great coaches for TUF 32.

The Ultimate Fighter 32: Alexa Grasso set to coach against Valentina Shevchenko premiere set for June 4th.

“I think they have this kind of cliche … have this thing of it’s coming from way back before, from the very, very past and they cannot get rid of that. But we are in new era,” Shevchenko said at TUF 32 media day (via MMAMania). “We are in new modern days. It’s different now. It’s different than it was 10 years ago. It’s different than it was 20 years ago. Now it’s now and now it’s different, but they are still bringing that from years ago.

“This is not true, they have to change their mindset,” Shevchenko continued. “Also, I imagine that so many people, they just don’t care [about] anything. They just want to bring hate. They hate everyone and this hate, it’s just inside of their hearts. This is wrong. This is very wrong. They have to focus on the positive things. You kind of see when a person expresses themselves through the bad words, you kind of see what’s happening inside of them. So, it’s just a matter of personal things, and I think it’s if they try to focus on something beautiful it might change their understanding of how words work.”

With Valentina Shevchenko and Alexa Grasso coaching TUF 32, it sets them up to have their trilogy match later this year, with many expecting it to be on Mexican Independence Day at The Sphere.

Alexa Grasso vs. Valentina Shevchenko title rematch targeted for UFC event on September 16.
Mandatory Credit: Zuffa LLC

Shevchenko and Grasso last fought back in September with the two fighting to a draw. Before that, it was the Mexican who submitted Shevchenko at UFC 285 to win the women’s flyweight title in one of the biggest upsets in recent memory.

TUF 32 — starring Valentina Shevchenko begins filming this week